It’s Champion Carnival time, the yearly tournament by AJPW that started all the way back in 1973. This is the first year that I’ll be watching the Champion Carnival as it happens and I’ll hopefully be reviewing as much of it as I can. I’ll mainly be focusing on the Carnival matches themselves, so lets get on with day 1 which is held in front a sold out Korakuen Hall crowd!
-There are two eight man tag matches beforehand both short and actually quite fun.
Match 1 – Block B match: Daichi Hashimoto vs. Naoya Nomura
This was a good start to the tournament, The guys went for it from the get-go, firing off with a furious forearm exchange that unfolded into a very fun back and forth 5 minute sprint. Hashimoto ends up getting the win with a shining wizard.
Winner: Daichi Hashimoto(via Shining Wizard) ***
Match 2 – Block B match: Kengo Mashimo vs. The Bodyguard
Another good match here. From the start Bodyguard explodes with a shoulderblock and they keep a good pace throughout. Kengo Mashimo targets Bodyguards leg and Bodyguard does a good job of selling, but in the end he fights through the pain and kicks Mashimo in the head with his hurt leg to win. Great perseverance from Bodyguard as he show’s Mashimo’s attempts were futile, though he does keep selling the leg afterwards too. Good stuff.
Winner: Bodyguard(via High Kick to the head) ***1/4
Match 3 – Block A Match: KAI vs. Zeus
This was very good, they also wasted no time from the get go and just went for it, delivering a very enjoyable back and forth contest with some great near falls. In the end KAI almost murders Zeus with is ‘Meteor Impact’ finish for the victory. Very Solid mach overall.
Winner: KAI(via Meteor Impact) ***1/2
Match 4 – Block A Match: Kento Miyahara vs. Jake Lee
Man these matches just keep increasing in quality, tremendous match here between these too. They start a little more normal than previous ones with a nice tech sequence and then the match just escalates with Kento getting a small bit of control until they just go all out with the finishing stretch full, of close near-falls and big fighting spirit, in the end though after kicking out of a delayed bridging German suplex, Jake falls victim to Kento’s Shutdown German suplex hold which gives Kento the victory. Really great match-up fair play and under 15 minutes too.
Winner: Kento Miyahara(via Shutdown German Suplex Hold) ****1/4
Match 5 – Block A match: Daisuke Sekimoto vs. Joe Doering
It was obviously gonna be difficult following up the previous match, but these guys still put on a solid match up. It was a good big lads contest that was back and forth and had a good pace.
Winner: Joe Doering(via Revolution Bomb) ***1/4
Main event – Block B Match: Suwama vs. Shuji Ishikawa
Two more big lads going at it now and this was a great main event, very physical. Ishikawa controls a good portion early on focusing on Suwama’s abdomen then they have a great finishing stretch with lots of big near falls and an incredible end sequence where Suwama traps Shuji’s arms and Shuji just gives him a disgusting headbutt, he then goes for TSUNAMI but Suwama catches his knee and impressively powers up Shuji into the Last Ride, it only gets a 2 count though, so Suwama does a backdrop driver hold for the 3 count. Great stuff.
Winner: Suwama(via Backdrop driver hold) ****
Very Strong first day for the tournament every match delivered and we got two particularly great contests too. What I love how much of a breeze this was to watch, every match went under 15 minutes which dampened none of the quality and it was so easy to get through. I Definitely recommend it, consistent and highly enjoyable. ****